Imagine Self find yourself, know yourself, become yourself Tue, 18 Nov 2014 20:43:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ambiguous Loss & Frozen Grief Sat, 11 Oct 2014 15:24:09 +0000 Freedom in Naming

I read these two phrases, ambiguous loss and frozen grief, in a recent article in the AARP magazine and felt a part of my soul had found a name.

I speak and write often about the importance of naming. All our feelings need a name.  If we can’t give them their true name, we give them our own name and that gets us into serious trouble.

For most of my life, my ambiguous loss and frozen grief I have called Lynn or me or myself. I was the feeling and the feeling was me. I could not separate myself from this feeling.

Naming separates and distinguishes. Naming lets you revere and recognize. Naming must occur before things and feelings and relationships can find their place and become well-organized.

Before the naming of ambiguous loss and frozen grief, they were nameless feelings that lived everywhere like a life-blurring fog and imploding soul clutter. The fog was the loss and the grief – the little pieces of broken heart – was the clutter.

My Ambiguous Loss

Absent physically, present psychologically or vice versa…it is a trap of ambiguity.

For most of my childhood my father was physically absent, an agonizing void, but he was a huge psychological presence. There  was no evidence that I mattered to him, yet I remained fiercely loyal and adoring.  I felt he made me special and shaped the great fairytale of my life. I longed for him and longed for myself with enduring patience. I was like him. I was the absent father’s daughter-twin.

He was never there, but he was always there. He never protected me or provided for me, but always was the hero who would someday rescue me and meet all my needs.  Most of my life was in suspension, frozen until his return.

My Frozen Grief

All the pieces of the heart of me that his lack of presence shattered, I gathered up and placed in fantasies of our special affinity and hid them away.  I froze the daughter’s grief in those fantasies. There is a part of every daughter that can only be nurtured by a father’s active love.  I could not grieve the loss of that love, because someday he would appear, shining brightly, and make me whole.

I could never feel the fire of my anger at the abandoning, neglecting father as that would have melted the frozen grief for my unfathered self, the part of me that died when he went away. I thought being the daughter  faithful to the hope of the returning father was a great role to play.  I didn’t see that it buried so much of all I wanted from life.

I also couldn’t bear the weight of the guilt. I thought that if I ever let go of the psychological father, killed the fantasy, released the longing, that I would be a murderer. That it really was my fault and my life would never ever be lived…no hope.

Grief is a two-fold mystery.  There is the grief for the other who has left  and the grief for the self that will never be without them. I could not acknowledge either grief – I could not mourn.  Frozen grief is the failure to mourn.  There was no black to wear, no way to let the world would know I was a fatherless daughter. There was just the blurring fog of ambiguous loss and the clutter of the heart shards, sharp and pointed, lying all over my life: my work, my relationships, my anxieties, my doubts.

What is yours?

In the light and warmth of this naming, I can reflect on the many conversations I have had with my clients and recognize how many have been about taking the ambiguity out of  loss and thawing frozen grief. I’ve witnessed the coming alive, the flourishing of self, that follows these conversations.

What loss hides in ambiguity? What grief cannot be felt? What guilt weighs down your lonely innocence? What keeps you from mourning into a new life?

It doesn’t have to be your father.  Or your mother.  Maybe the ambiguous loss happened later in life through an  adult relationship. Maybe through a career.

Frozen grief never ends.  Active mourning resolves.  You live again

This Michaelmas think about fire breathing dragons that freeze you in ambiguity. Thaw your frozen grief from within.  Imagine the warmth of selfhood and the courage of I .  The force to name and slay your beasts comes from the the sun within you.


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Discerning Dragons on Michaelmas Mon, 29 Sep 2014 20:53:54 +0000 It was September, 1986 that I was introduced to the festival of Michaelmas. I had enrolled my daughter in the first class of the fledgling Waldorf School of Princeton and at the end of the first month of school there was a Saturday gathering around a dragon and a dragon slayer.  28 years later and I am still learning about dragons and dragon slayers.

The Archangel Micha-el is the Spirit of Our Times and brings to the human soul a capacity to recognize, name and slay or tame the dragons that dwell in the caves of our soul and our sense of self.

We find in Micha-el the source of light that illuminates the darkness within. But, Micha-el appears in darkness, not above or beyond it.  In other words, Micha-el comes to us so we can see ourselves, find the courage of I, in the midst of darkness.

Through my work as a spiritual mentor supporting others as they undertake the activities of finding, knowing, and becoming themselves, and through my own personal self-imagining, I’ve recently come to recognize and name three types of dragons: karma dragons, trauma dragons, and demon dragons. Much of my work with my individual clients is about discerning these three types of obstacles to selfhood and determining how to forge and use the inner sword that brings the strength of Michael to confronting and overcoming karma, trauma and demons.

Let’s discern these dragons.

The Karma Dragons

Karma dragons are the obstacles found in our thoughts and feelings about our inherited selves: the forms and functions of our physical and biological selves and the attitudes and myths of our families and immediate communities.  These innate dragons are so tough to see and tougher to slay. These karma dragons are the ones that form our false selves and then defend these distorted identities against the freedom that comes with a a growing, evolving sense of selfhood.

The biggest problem with karma dragons is that they look like us, or like mommy or daddy, so slaying them feels like a crime against the self and all that defines us.  It feels that if we slay them everything will die and there will be no I.

The Trauma Dragons

Trauma dragons are the events of our lives that take a part of our souls and freeze them in suspended animation.  Suspended animation is the slowing or stopping of life processes by outer or inner means without termination.

“Without termination” of life, yet no capacity to live.  Have you seen any of the zombie movies??? Have you wondered why young people find the image of zombies so intriguing?

Trauma dragons are the ones that have taken away the life of your soul, usually just parts of your soul.  They keep you from feeling any vibrant warmth or enthused engagement for your work, your relationships, your personal goals. These are the dragons that “scare the life out of you.”

Trauma dragons can be great loss, great inflating success or devastating failure, sexual, emotional, or spiritual abuse, a physical illness or accident.  I’ve had my share of battles with trauma demons…and brought new life to the zombie bits of my soul.  You can, too.

The Demon Dragons

Finally, the nasty little demon dragons.  These soul vermin attack our thoughts, our feelings, and our acts of will and turn them into rigid thoughts, robotic habits and toxic reactions.  They are cancerous.  A demon dragon finds a single thought, feeling or deed and attacks it, not to devour it but to corrupt it.  One corrupt thought, feeling or behavior then begins to grow and metastasize throughout our soul.  Demon dragons are the enemies of moral development.

And they are so little.  Karma dragons look like us but are large, dramatic, and so familiar. Trauma dragons range in size and make a lot of pain and though they may hide, once out in the open they are easily recognized and can be overcome. But the little demons are like fleas and gnats, too small to be seen.

Typing Your Dragons & The Courage of I

The moment you can type a dragon: karma, trauma, demon, you will find a light, a warmth, a tone, and a force entering your soul.  This is the Micha-elic courage of I.

When you take up the Michaelic task of naming and slaying your personal dragons, there is much benefit in having conversations that both support and guide you in your work.  You are the only one who can free yourself from your dragons, no one and no being can do this for you, not even Micha-el.  Micha-el bring the light of the Sun and conversations can encourage your courage of I.

Use these distinctions in your moments of self-reflection – your dragon hunts. See if they don’t help you in your dragon-spotting and dragon-slaying.  Michaelmas is the soul season for this courageous work of facing your karma, your trauma, your demons.



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Fast Lanes, Traffic Jams, Parking Valets Sun, 14 Sep 2014 15:34:13 +0000 Getting Somewhere in Good Time

I am going somewhere and I’m excited.  And I am finally wise enough to know I will get there in good time.

“Good time” is not “on time.”  “Good time” indicates the process and the journey were successful.  “On time” is an expectation and a commitment that places value in meeting a schedule rather than living a life.

“Good time” is not always fun time or happy time.  Good time is productive, creative, generative time filled with meaning, significance, purpose and effective surprises.

Now I keep appointments with other people… rarely early, sometimes late, usually close to the moment. But I am not great at keeping appointments with myself and my work.  (Yes, this is another version of time for yourself. There are so many ways to look at our relationship to time.)

My mind is almost always in the fast lane.  My will is almost always in a traffic jam.   My mind arrives too early, my will too late.  All in good time.  Good time is a feeling that slows down my mind and speeds up my will.

Right now my life needs a parking valet who knows just where all my projects are parked. I tend to just jump out of a project leaving the engine running and find another project with its motor running.  I never seem to be able to turn the key off and put the project in park, let alone find a parking space. Yes, a valet would be great.


Metaphors really help me get to my truth.  If I use this parking valet metaphor, I can play with that role.  I love the way a valet can look at a wall of keys and grab the right ones as he runs off to get the car.  Then he jumps out of the car, holds the door while I get in and smiles as he closes the door and sends me off.  Just what I need as I go from one project to the next.

My inner valet!

Look at your sense of the fast lane. How many traffic jams are you caught in? Do you have a parking lot for your projects?

If you have kids, do you have the sense that there is no brake, that even down shifting seems impossible?  I watch my daughter struggle with the feeling that her son dances between grabbing the steering wheel and dancing on the accelerator.

Maybe when it comes to your life, you need to get out of first gear, or you are caught on a track that just loops and loops, or you are running out of gas?

Use all these car metaphors and discover whats going on in your life.  And share them in a comment, please.

One more for the road…

What if we each had a GPS system, where we could type in the destination of our destiny and suddenly a voice, divine or mechanical, would start leading us step-by-step.  I can go for this.  Actually, all the Imagine Self courses are a kind of GPS for self-awareness.


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Time for Yourself Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:00:55 +0000 Time for myself. 


It just took me a couple of seconds to type those three little words for a great big thought, a huge longing, and a very complex set of possibilities.

What do I want “time for myself” for? What is the longing for and what are the possibilities about?

It’s been about ten minutes since I took those few seconds to type “Time for myself.” and I’ve filled those minutes with questions and more thoughts about what this special time is for.


Do I “take” time for myself? Do I ask for time for myself? Do I give myself time for myself?

How much time for myself do I need? If I don’t get time for myself what happens to me? 


What is my time?


Most  of my time is for duty, obligation, necessity, common sense, habit and survival. 


Time for myself is about the extraordinary and the exceptional, even the exotic. 


Time for myself is about freedom…freedom to indulge and freedom to develop. 


I find time for myself to be fulfilling, deeply fulfilling, whether it is about indulgence or development, requires forethought, planning and focus.  A whim or impulse here and there can be a sweet surprise but intentional time, designed time is truly nourishing.


I also must share my struggle with the shadows of not taking time for myself. I have felt such guilt and shame and grief over my stillborn dreams of time for myself. And I have felt anger at others, at myself, at life for not giving me permission, not giving me the circumstances for time for myself. And I have let opportunities slip by.


My Time for Distraction


I also realize that distraction is not time for myself. It’s time away from myself.  I believe in distraction. It is the necessary breather. Sure, distraction can be an avoider, but most of the time distraction is a rest and renewal that let’s me get back on task.  I’ve spent years feeling I was weak and undisciplined if I didn’t maintain focus and attention.  I no longer have distraction guilt.  I need distraction and use it elegantly enough of the time. (No one’s perfect.) But distraction is time away, not time for! 


Sometimes distraction is a meandering google glide or a conversation with a friend or a sudden urge to vacuum the living room.  Once I stopped buying into the “distraction is a diagnosis” beliefs of our times, and realized that for me I distract when I get over-stimulated by my work and need to have a break to come back to center. Breaks can be productive or silly, as long as they restore me to a state of balance and equanimity so I can return to my work.


How do you feel about distraction?


Time for Myself as Conscious Indulgence


Indulgence is about pleasure and delight.  It is about the senses, getting lost in touch or sound, taste or sight. I love having things done to me…a pedicure, a massage.  It is about going beyond necessity.


Everyday I take a bath, which is an indulgence, it is also a habit and a necessity (I do need to get clean, however a shower would be quicker.)  but the everyday bath is not a conscious indulgence, it is a routine indulgence.  To make it conscious, I would need to set the mood, delight my senses in beautiful ways…scents, candles, music, a special towel, a glass of wine. It would be an art, well-designed.  And I would surrender to the reality as much or more than I surrendered to its fantasy. I would embrace the fulfillment  as I embraced the longing for fulfillment.


Then there is the wonderful conscious indulgence of nature. Time to see the all the greens, watch the clouds roll by, hear the stream trickle, watch the squirrel run through the tree and be all alone, the conscious indulgence of surrendering to nature for a time.


As I write this post, I am realizing I need to give myself time for writing a poem. I feel so nurtured when I write a poem.  I think a poem at least once a week.  I write a poem maybe twice a year. Do you ever take time for your poet self?


We each need to give ourselves the time to make a list of indulgences that would be time for self. And then choose the ones that we are willing to consciously design and manifest.  And then we should let the others go.  


When will you give yourself the time to consider your well-deserved conscious indulgences?


Time for Myself as Conscious Development


Development awakens and refines talents in areas that you find stimulating and soothing. You feel more alive and more like the you you want to be inwardly to yourself and appear outwardly to others. Usually you seek this development through learning and practicing. 


And what are your motives for development? You have need to excel and win or perfect and prove your worth.  Or you want to feel better, do better, or know better.  You want to expand, deepen, enliven, enrich or express yourself intellectually, creatively, practically, spiritually or morally.  You want to heal and become whole, You want to be free and in the moment of your experience.  You want to be empowered gracefully.


With development you take time for yourself to read books/blogs, take courses, attend retreats, establish practices (from knitting, to running to gardening to opera to meditation) and these stretch you beyond pleasure. You seek out teachers, therapists, coaches, mentors, spiritual paths and leaders.  You have deep conversations. You experience what you have longed for and dreamed about. You also form a right relationship to limitations.


Conscious development is about becoming more you. Give yourself time to become yourself.


How do you imagine your conscious development? Take some time for yourself and this question.


Indulgence or Development? 


I write these thoughts as an act of my own conscious development.  When I chose this topic, I didn’t have very clear thoughts on “time for myself.”  In writing these paragraphs over a few days, I’ve gotten clearer, but I have also awakened many more questions.  Conscious development is an unending journey.


Conscious indulgence is an event, not an unending journey. 


Conscious indulgence offers pleasure. Conscious development will be painful, work, and full of devotion. Be passionate about both.


Need Help?


Need help with shaping time for yourself? Book yourself 20 complimentary minutes with me and we will work miracles and get very practical:



My related blog post on self-comforting.


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Cultivation – the transforming fire of relationship Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:29:49 +0000 Your Cultivators

Certain “others” have come into my life with a set of gardening tools. They are the gardeners of my life. Our relationships live in the fiery activity of cultivation.

They have a hoe that breaks up the stuck and hard soil of the past. 

They have a spade that digs a hole in my soul big enough for the new idea, the broader perspective, the sweet understanding. 

They have  one of those clever little tools that can cut at the root of  a prejudice, a paralyzing fear, a collapsing sadness, or other nasty soul weed so it can be yanked out of my consciousness.

They have a golden fork that pitches over and over the compost pile of my old thoughts, ancient feelings and forgotten deeds.

They have a rake for gathering up the bitter feelings, brittle lies, and mistaken deeds that would sour the soil of my soul and keep truth, beauty and goodness from warming my being with freedom and love.

They thoughtfully plant seeds, prune back the unnecessary, enrich the soil with compost , gather the flowers and enjoy the fruit.

These gardeners connect, care and converse, but most importantly, they cultivate my life.

Who I am today I wouldn’t be without the powerful cultivating presence of  these gardeners in my life. I might just be barren soil, no life, no flowers, no fruit. A soul that lacked fire and failed to thrive and produce any love.

Who Do You Cultivate?

Each of us is a fiery cultivator of others.  We ask questions, make observations, challenge, point out, poke fun, look hard, smile warmly, shed tears and give pushes. We make tea, open up a bottle of wine, share a hot fudge sundae, take walks, listen, listen and listen more. Before we fall asleep we think about our others with wonder and devotion regarding their future…igniting the flame of their destiny, cultivating their life’s garden.

The bud, the bloom, the fruit are the fiery fulfillment of a well-cultivated, and powerfully cultivating, relationship and they light up the world ether with flames of reverence and gratitude.

Who have been the soul gardeners in your life? And who are the soul gardens that you cultivate courageously? Make a list and then write two pages about one or two cultivating relationships…explore the connections, the caring, the conversations and the acts of cultivation. Stay with the metaphors or not.

And notice the feeling in your heart!

Dig Deeper

And if you want to deal with paradox, think of those who only cultivate, or those who only converse, or simply care, and those with whom connection has no real significance – those unfamiliar names on your FB friends list.

In my life there are a number of relationships that are no longer currently alive in time and space, but I still feel the connection, offer care that exists as loving thoughts in the world ethers, and the conversations seem to take place only in my imagination…but somehow, they still have the power to cultivate.  Amazing!

In our modern social life, relationship is incredibly complex.  The more we try to deconstruct relationship, the more we can create more evolved, more conscious ones.


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Existential Equanimity, Existential Love, Existential Fear Sat, 12 Jul 2014 18:23:23 +0000

I have always referred to inner equanimity, thinking of equanimity as an inner quality of being or state of consciousness.  Composed, balanced, smooth, vital, and elegant, but a recent comment on the webinar I gave on July 2 has evolved my sense of equanimity.

The equanimity that I intend to imagine and begin to embody in myself and the participants in the retreat this August is not a mood or a quality.  It is a way of living, an objective reality.  This is an existential equanimity present in soul and cell, underlying our thinking, feeling, and willing as beings of our times.  

Everyday we find our existential equanimity challenged by events inside or outside our skin. From the function of our liver, the racing of our heartbeat or a memory of a hurt, to the annoyance of a fly. your husband’s lie, or the media’s attention to terrorism. Relationships, work, health all challenge us and sometimes we find ourselves in moments that call forth a self that must take hold of life with the greatness of soul that arises out of the presence of existential love, the absence of existential fear and full access to the wisdom of our emotions.

The Relaxing Into Inner Equanimity: The Art of Empowered Relaxation will give you four days to build your understanding of and capacity for equanimity, empowered relaxation, and greatness of soul.

Since I am keeping the group to the intimate number of twelve, I want to share with you and all my readers this new distinction of existential equanimity beginning with the definition of existence.



the fact or state of living or having objective reality

• continued survival

• a way of living

• any of a person’s supposed current, future, or past lives on this earth

• archaic a being or entity.

• all that exists.

ORIGIN late Middle English: from Old French, or from late Latin existentia, from Latin exsistere ‘come into being,’ from ex- ‘out’ + sistere ‘take a stand.’

Existential Equanimity as a way of living, a potentially constant reality…I can go for that!  But what does existential equanimity consist of?  

I am always learning, unfolding, deepening my understanding of myself, the cosmos, the soul, reality, ideas, all the “stuff” I write about, teach, and mentor.  Inspirations for this come from so many resources.  

When I gave the webinar on The Twelve Elements of Equanimity (You can watch it here… ten days ago, I found inspiration in a comment posted by one of the listeners regarding the four basic emotions.

Here are the three sets of four elements that establish existential equanimity:

The four vital energies:

I am alive with light ether, warmth ether, tone ether, and force ether

The four essential states:

I am safe, I am calm, I am awake, I am nourished


The four basic emotions:

I feel anger, I feel happiness, I feel fear, I feel sadness

Here is the comment:

“I had heard in other courses that we actually only have 2 emotions:  love and fear – and that anger and sadness were offshoots of fear, while joy and happiness were offshoots of love. Eager to hear your expansion of the twelve elements.”

The quoted comment focuses on the emotions, but led me to understand the others, the energies and the states, and led me to the notion of existential equanimity.

I do not agree to love and fear in this context as being ordinary emotions. They are feeling states, not e-motions. Yet, there is truth to this if we see them as existential feelings…existential love and existential fear. Let me explain.


The full presence of the light ether, the warmth ether, the tone ether, and the force ether flood us with eros or uninhibited, undistorted life energies which create an oceanic feeling of  existential love — the love of the creator gods from whom all love/life flows into existence. We experience being one with the flow that includes all created things: human, animal, plant, and mineral. It is existential love.


The full presence of the states of safety, calmness, wakefulness and nourishment protect us from any existential fear — love/life cannot be threatened, diminished, or destroyed in any way when we are safe, calm, awake and nourished. The feelings of danger and enmity, of agitation and anxiety, of ignorance and exhaustion, and of starvation  establish an existential fear.  This fear then casts us out of love. Existence becomes uncertain, painful, and  hostile.


So then, what is the role of the four basic emotions in establishing existential equanimity? If you listen to the webinar, you will learn that the emotions are storytellers and our way of responding to all events and environments.  Anger tells us when our selfhood is being challenged, gives us the power to say NO and our sense of boundaries. Happiness says yes, offers sweetness (sometimes bittersweetness) and brings us into conscious and creative joy.  Fear develops courage and steadfastness by alerting us to danger and the potential to move into the unknown. Sadness brings the awareness of loss and newness, the two challenges that live in the presence of sacrifice and evolution. 

Without these four basic emotions we would lose our individuality and our biographical reality.  

The four vital energies are the furthest from our ordinary consciousness because they are so deep in the core creative reality of our sense of self.  They are ethereal and cannot be materially perceived or measured, but our souls need them to bring spirit into existence.

The four states relate to the embodied health of our four great biological realities: the immune system which activates to sustain safety; the endocrine system which activates a sense of regulated calmness; the nervous system which communicates the experience of wakefulness and awareness; and, the digestive system which functions to provide us with life-sustaining nourishment.  All four must be healthy to give us a sense of wholeness and aliveness.

The four emotions reveal our personal and social responses to challenges and reveal our personal shadows and struggles. Our emotional life is full of lessons when we resist dramatizing it which requires us to regulate our four essential states and feel the alive presence of our four vital energies..  

The Value of the Retreat

In the gathering of two or more wisdom seeking souls an opening can appear that draws in great gifts of imagination. With up to thirteen human souls all seeking through wonder the meaning, significance and purpose of existential equanimity and empowered relaxation something so beyond the ordinary becomes possible. The collective and open heart forces of the group leap far beyond the potential of the individual. Come benefit from this experience.

Our times will also benefit from your participation. The experience of Love and the eradication of Fear mean the future of all is supported by the courageous development of the individual…of you. This is not a time when it matters what group you connect with but rather how you know yourself and want to know others!


If you have been thinking about attending but hesitate, please schedule a call with me.  I want you to be here in Chapel HIll, August 6- 10.  If you have financial concerns, again, let me know.  If you want to be here, I will make it possible for you to attend. 

August 6th, the first day of the retreat, is the Feast of the Transfiguration – unplanned, but not surprising.  Esoterically, this is a deeply significant festival for the individual who sees equanimity as essential for the manifestation of their individuality. Who are you? what is your destiny? How do you transfigure through your existential experiences?

The retreat is not just about feeling good. It is about being able to elegantly overcome any obstacles to you doing good and manifesting your destiny.  

The retreat is about graceful work, not rest. It is about maturity and wisdom, not pleasure. It is about you as an evolving and manifesting individual beyond your age and your stories.  

And we will have fun and laughter, enjoy expressing ourselves, and find real nurturance and inspiration in each other. 

The retreat is only open for registration until Midnight Eastern, Thursday, July 17. Sign up now! 

Bonus: all those who register  for the retreat will receive a post-retreat 1 hour consultation with me worth $120..  This is a very empowering conversation as it will support you in establishing a real image of your as a being moving toward existential equanimity.

Learn all about the retreat and register here.

If you cannot attend the retreat and you have questions or thoughts about anything in this post, leave a comment or signup for a complimentary 20 conversation with me here.


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Greatness of Soul Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:50:38 +0000 The future is going to require greatness of soul from each of us. And the future starts now!

You feel it , don’t you? Things are changing. Most think the change is a relentless slide into darkness, but I would say that is just the view from the weakness of soul,  from those fearing the future, clinging to an inner status quo, and hoping for divine intervention.

Greatness of soul views the future, both the personal future and the collective future, with empowered relaxation and inner equanimity. It regards both inner and outer changes with thoughtfulness and willingness. Threat and chaos are met with sober, creative courage and the calm and certain capacity to evaluate, regulate, sacrifice and evolve.

Greatness of soul does not hold on, it let’s go. It does not panic and hate, it forges on to new worlds with compassion and creativity.  It does not adapt or conform, rather it dies and is resurrected in a new truth. Nor does not depend on joy and passion, romance and reward in relationships or work as ways to prove value and confirm meaning.  

Make a list of the attributes (capabilities, qualities, states, and virtues) that live in a soul capable of greatness.  Begin with writing down at least 100.  You might want to reflect on individuals who have demonstrated greatness of soul and write down all the words that describe them.

Once you have your list (and you can always add to it) see if you can organize and categorize the items.  Maybe five categories.  Name the categories. I would give you suggestions, but I want you to really ponder, reflect, imagine (all capacities of greatness of soul.

Greatness of soul is not a  given nor a constant, not even for saints or heroes. It requires intentional preparation and the inner development of of these attributes establishing a poised readiness for the moment and the need. 

How do you prepare your soul for greatness in our uncertain times?

When I did this exercise, I realized why I am so convinced that each of us cultivate and nurture our own equanimity of soul.  Equanimity is the foundation of greatness of soul. Behind all the other attributes is equanimity.


from Latin aequanimitas, from aequus ‘equal’ + animus ‘mind.’

“…the cultivation of a certain inner balance (equanimity). The student endeavors to retain his composure in the face of joy and sorrow, and eradicates the tendency to fluctuate between the seventh heaven of joy and the depths of despair. Misfortune and danger, fortune and advancement alike find him ready armed.” Rudolf Steiner

On Wednesday, June 25 at 8PM Eastern I will be offering a 60 minute fr^e webinar on Inner Equanimity & Greatness of Soul - I’ll go over the 12 elements of Inner Equanimity and how to recognize and measure the presence and health of each one. 


the four vital energies:
light, warmth, tone and force.



the four essential states:
safe, calm, awake and nourished



the four basic emotions:
anger, happiness, fear and sadness


My upcoming retreat on Equanimity and Empowered Relaxation only has room for 12 participants, so I wanted to share with you some of the basic insights.  And if you are deciding whether to come all the way to Chapel Hill to spend four days with me and 11 other souls developing and fine tuning your equanimity and your relaxation, you will be able to ask questions and get clear if this would be right for you at this time in your unfolding life.

To register for the fr^e webinar, CLICK HERE.



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Conversation – the Breath & Dance of Relationship Tue, 10 Jun 2014 09:20:09 +0000 We live in a time of endless interactions and few conversations.  Twitter, Facebook, etc. are full of interactions that are rooted in connection and often caring, but not conversations.  They don’t enliven like breathe and there is no dance of real engagement and partnering.

Conversation depends on air – the breath – and the out-breathing of self and the in-breathing of other.

We breathe ourselves out through speech and breathe the other in through listening. Through speech we thrust ourselves or press ourselves onto the other.  Through listening we receive and embrace the thrust of the other.

It is a dance, the art of partnered movement in the realm of breath.  Oh, yes, it is movement – even physiologically the larynx, tongue, jaw and lips, the ear drum, the little bones and muscles of the middle ear and finally the cilia- all those little hair cells that vibrate with sound…all move in conversation.

It is a dance of thoughts and feelings and intentions. Of vulnerabilities and strengths.

It is a dance of questions, declarations, assertions, requests, responses, silences.

It is a dance of comforting, challenging, giving and receiving.

But there are also the shadow conversations of degrees of attack, neglect, betrayal, abandonment. There is no breathing in these conversations, just suffocation, no dance just straight jackets, prison cells, closets, and coffins. However, we must remember with these shadow conversations, if there is connection, caring, and cultivation we can experience forgiveness and redeem the shadows.  So even in these painful exchanges, we can grow.  I will write more on this in the post on cultivation and the fire of relationship.

But as I speak, listen, respond to myself in an inner conversation and then question myself, I find so much more is living in a conversation that forms a true relationship. Let’s remember the need for connection and the need for caring, when they are present in the relationship, conversation leaps with the potential and momentary realizations of truth, beauty and goodness. These virtues become real through and in conversation.

Let’s focus on…leap.  A real conversation in the context of a real relationship (connection, caring, cultivation) always provides a leap, a discovery, a coming home, a sparkle that could not happen without the finding of the self in the other and the other in the self. You know those moments when in the being of the other – you find an aspect of yourself leaping into your soul and you know yourself in a new way.

Recollect the relationships which create the airy space for leaps. Celebrate them!

Another note:  I mentioned my inner conversation.  Yes, we have many inner relationships as we consist of so many inner voices.  All the elements of relationship with others, also live in the relationships between our different inner voices.  So note your inner conversations, your inner connections, and seek the caring relationships that live between your voices and how they listen to one another.  And write it down, draw a chart, and talk with a friend or a counselor about these. Very powerful and you will find it very helpful in imagining your self.


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Caring – the Life Water of Relationship Sun, 11 May 2014 13:04:14 +0000 I’ve shared my thoughts and questions on connection, the ground of relationship. Today, I want to contemplate caring as the water of relationship…the blood of relationship.

To care about is

To attach importance to another’s existence.

To experience another’s body, soul and spirit with tender attention and awareness

To think of, feel about, and act with heartfelt warmth for another.

To want to know the mystery of another.

I thrive on caring and being cared about. Don’t you? Please notice that I am not writing about caring for. It is caring about that we are contemplating.

Reflect on each of those five relationships you named for your reflections on connection. This time think about how you care about this person and how they care about you. Caring really brings life into a relationship and keeps it new.

This post on caring has taken me a lot of time to write.  I’ve been caring about caring, wanting to know what it is all about. It is something done all my life but rarely made conscious. So I have been surprised at the thoughts I have had over the two hours I’ve spent actively looking, feeling and thinking about the role of caring in relationship. making the distinction between caring about and caring for was a big one…I have been cared for by people who did not care about me and I am afraid I have done the same.

Like the flow of water and blood, caring about takes place in time and must make itself new every moment.

It’s Mother’s Day.  As a mother I cared for my child, but that is only part of the complex activity of caring. I cared about who they were and who they were becoming, not just their needs. I wanted to get to know them anew every  moment.

Then there is the stranger I pass in the aisle at the market, for a brief moment I will care about them. Or the checkout person, I care about them. And my shopping trip comes alive and finds warmth.

But I am mostly thinking about caring about those I am in deeper relationship with because I care about them over long periods of my day, my year, my life.


Caring about is never fixed.  It flows and grows. and it stops and starts. Sometimes caring is a trickle, sometimes it is a  level 5 rapid. Sometimes it evaporates and sometimes it floods.

As we build an imagination of ourselves in relationship, we need to realize the ebbs and flows of caring.

Like blood it brings life and carries away death.

Caring about is letting the other live in you as a strange and wonderful other. That I live in others because they care about me even in small ways is such joy.

To experience my four year old granddaughter look at me (who she hadn’t seen for six months) and say “You’re not a babysitter, you’re my grandmother!” or my grandson (who lives nearby and sees me all the time) say “Let’s fall in love, Nana, right this minute! ” is being cared about with the immediacy, love and wisdom of a child.

I remember as a little child saying my prayers at night and how I loved the “God bless… ” litany.  It was a litany of caring and it was so unselfish and so full of self. Now as an adult it would be great to review my day through the filter of caring: how did I care and how was I cared for.  But it would also be important to look at my caring failures (too little, too much, none at all), not to be ashamed but to be aware. To look at how others failed in caring for me, not to blame or suffer, but to notice and forgive.

All this only makes greater sense to me when I embrace the water/blood metaphor for caring.

This Mother’s Day celebrate the mystery of caring.

And for Mother’s Day, I want to share a quote from one of the participants in the Core Imaginations course who shared about the experience of being all one while caring about herself and her child.

“When I was first breastfeeding my child, I had this feeling of being all one within myself, of the incredible solitude of being the only one who was her mother, and I also had this feeling of being all one with every mother in the world– every solitary mother who sat at night breastfeeding her child.”

So let me add the flowing of mother’s milk to the liquid life-giving metaphors of water and blood.

Blessings on you for caring about someone. Swim daily in the wonderful waters of relationship.


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Connection – The Ground of Relationship Tue, 06 May 2014 16:31:22 +0000 In my last post I wrote about  the four active elements of community:

  1. connection
  2. caring
  3. conversation
  4. cultivation

The order is intentional. First you connect, then you begin to care, then you have real conversations, and finally you find the gift of cultivation. I am going to write a post about each active element.

Most of the time in most relationships/communities, we don’t need to pay attention or analyze the active elements. But there are times of celebration, confusion, and mourning that awareness and understanding of the active elements can truly enrich, clarify, and evolve your sense of the relationship.

CONNECTION – The Ground of Relationship

What is the connection that links you to another human being? It’s probably best to not make this a general question. Let’s make it specific. Make a list of five people you are connected to or should the linking word be with?. Do notice if you feel connected to or with another.

Here’s the list:

  • Someone you chose to connect with – a friend or lover.
  • Someone you are connected to by birth or marriage.
  • Someone you are connected to by work.
  • Someone you are connected to by beliefs or interests.
  • Someone you were once connected with but the connection is inactive or severed.

What connects you to/with each?  If you make note of the commonalities and how you are like each other you will get a partial picture.  You will then need to look at your differences and how you complement each other. And then you will need to look at the mysteries of your connection.

I suggest you put aside shared history as they describe the relationship, and I want us to distinguish the qualities about yourself and about the other.  No stories.

Commonalities provide the most obvious source of connection. But commonalities can get boring…no surprises or contrasts.

Welcome the differences that bring color and intensity to the connection. Opposites attract but the differences that connect us are often more subtle than opposites. Sometimes the differences are challenging and take courage to connect with. Differences that add the sweet or the spice, the glue or the traction to the connection. When you look at your five relationships, spend a lot of time noting the differences.

The mysteries of a connection most intrigue me. I have the most alive energy around the relationships that don’t make logical sense.  It is as if the question mark shapes and surrounds the connection.  Curious that a question mark turned on its side becomes a hook! Here is the opportunity to learn about power and rightness of alchemy, karma and destiny.


A great nighttime exercise is the connection review.  Bring into your heart thoughts one or two individuals you connected with during the day and don’t focus only on the big dramatic relationships. Balance your sense of relationship with the casual and apparently insignificant.   You may not have connected with them in physical space, maybe only in soul space as they may live far away or even no longer be living. Think about your commonalities and your differences and then, ask a question about the mystery reasons behind the connection. You will most likely find your waking consciousness full of new perspectives on the relationship and on your need for the relationship.

Do you see how connection is the ground for the forming of a living community. We take connection for granted as it is the deepest and most unconscious active element of relationship.

I’ve also learned that genuine, open, unconditional interest creates the deepest connection and leads to the deepest  caring, the liveliest conversations, and the most amazing cultivation.  Interest allows us to connect with almost anyone.


Like most of those reading this, you live in my life as a name on my large mailing list. I don’t know what you look like. I don’t know the details of your life or the rich complexities of your personality. We connect only through my emails and the thoughts I offer and the thoughts you experience. But I care about you. I converse with you in the mysterious realms of soul and spirit.  And we cultivate each other.

You might become a client one day  or take a workshop, or our paths might cross and recognition might occur. Or you might leave a comment.

Thank you for our mysterious connection!

Next post, we will look at caring.


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